How often do you meet your relatives? How do you spend time with your relatives? Are people in your country usually close with their relatives?
  • Once, twice, etc. removed - used to refer to a cousin (= a relation) separated from you by one, two, etc. generations (= same family age groups).
  • Spread out (phrasal verb) - if people spread out, they move from being close together in a group to being in different places across a larger area.
  • Many moons ago - a long time ago.
  • Gathering (noun) - a party or a meeting when many people come together as a group.
  • Catch up (phrasal verb) - to learn or discuss the latest news.
  • Gossip (noun) - conversation or reports about other people's private lives that might be unkind, disapproving, or not true.
  • Distinguish (verb) - to notice or understand the difference between two things, or to make one person or thing seem different from another.
  • Hierarchy (noun) - a system in which people or things are arranged according to their importance.
  • Intertwined (adj.) - twisted together or closely connected so as to be difficult to separate.
  • Overexpose (verb) - to make someone or something experience something too much, or for too long, risking harm.
  • Eccentricity (noun) - the state of being eccentric.
  • Eccentric (adj.) - strange or unusual, sometimes in a humorous way.
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Questions and answers
M: Do you have many relatives?

R: I suppose, if we take into consideration all the numerous distant relatives and many cousins once or twice removed, then yeah. It seems like there are almost hundreds of us.

M: How often do you meet your relatives?

R: Probably not often enough these days. The last family gathering was at Christmas and that was online. And it was exhausting since we were spread out all over the place in different time zones. It was really hard for me to organize, actually.

M: When did you last see your relatives?

R: Um, do you mean face to face? I suppose... Oh God, that must have been many moons ago. Um, oh, actually, it was my 30th birthday. So we were all together, my cousins from my mom's side of the family were there and all of... Well, yeah, and all of the cousins and all of the my brothers as well, except for the one that lives in Australia, of course. And then in terms of online, that was that would be the Christmas gathering that I mentioned.

M: How do you spend time with your relatives?

R: Well, since we're hardly ever all together, it's usually spent catching up on the latest news and family gossip. My cousin and my uncle are pretty good with family trees and stuff for keeping track of all of that. So I usually talk to them to stay in the know about everything.

M: Are your relatives or friends more important to you?

R: Well, they probably have equal weight, I'd say. Most of my friends are physically closer to me, but my relatives are similar in terms of emotional proximity. I try not to distinguish between the two, since it's not like there's some sort of competitive hierarchy, which it isn't and it shouldn't be.
M: Are people in your country usually close with their relatives?

R: Um, I would say so. Even though families are usually big and intertwined with each other. Social media makes it easy to stay in touch. Um, and possibly it's too easy. And maybe we're all a little overexposed to people's eccentricity sometimes.
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